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Gemma Chan hits out at 'yellowface' play

Gemma Chan hits out at 'yellowface' play

Actress Gemma Chan has spoken out against a new stage show that casts white actors in the roles of Chinese characters.

A number of people turned up at to the opening of In The Depths Of Dead Love to complain of the “yellowface” phenomenon, including the Humans star.

Joining Hollywood actor Benedict Wong outside the Print Room theatre in west London, she said: “Any kind of ‘yellowface’ is not okay.

“I’m shocked this happened. You would think that artists in the theatre community would be more aware.

“They are saying this is a very English play…the implication there is that an English play needs white actors, which is problematic.”

She also posted on Twitter that the casting was “problematic” and the theatre’s words, “even more so”.

The modern production by Howard Barker is described on the theatre’s website as being set in ancient China, and tells the story of an exiled poet who decides to make a living by renting out his bottomless well to people attempting to kill themselves.

The majority of the cast, including Jane Bertish and William Chubb, are white actors.

But in a previous statement published by i, the theatre said: “In the Depths of Dead Love is not a Chinese play and the characters are not Chinese…These are literary allusions in Howard Barker's fable and never intended to be taken literally.”